Prime Minister Theresa May unveils new plans to boost mental health treatment across the country
- Credit: PA
Extra training for teachers, £80m funding for digital access and community services, and a review of young people's mental heath treatment are among a raft of measures unveiled today by Prime Minister Theresa May.
The Prime Minister today pleged to tackle the 'burning injustice of mental health and inadequate treatment' during a speech to the Charity Commission.
Among her plans are:
- Offering every secondary school in the country mental health first aid training over three years.
- Launching a review of child and adolescent mental health services, led by health watchdog the Care Quality Commission.
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- A ringfenced £15m fund to expand community support for people with mental health problems, including new crisis cafes and community clinics.
- Launching a formal review into the mental health debt form which can see patients charged up to £300 to prove they have a mental health problem.
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Mrs May said: 'The economic and social cost of mental illness is £105 billion – roughly the same as we spend on the NHS in its entirety.
'But while people talk about parity of esteem there is no escaping the fact that people with mental health problems are still not treated the same as if they have a physical ailment – or the fact that all of us – government, employers, schools, charities – need to do more to support all of our mental wellbeing.
'I want us to forge a new approach recognising our responsibility to each other, and make mental illness an everyday concern for all of us and in every one of our institutions.'
However her speech was labelled a 'puny response' by the North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb, a former health minister.
He said Mrs May's comments were an attempt to 'cover up for this government's failure to deliver on promised investment for children's mental health'.
'I welcome the fact the Prime Minister is addressing the issue of mental health and the focus on schools and employment is right,' he said.
'But measures to improve mental health care in schools were already agreed during coalition, and the current government has failed to ensure the investment needed to implement them has got through.
'Much of the additional £1.4 billion of funding secured for child mental health care is being diverted to prop up other services.
'This amounts to theft of money intended to improve the lives of vulnerable young people.'
For more reaction and analysis see tomorrow's editions of our newspapers.